Editor’s note: we have several book reviews written by the Minions but with our recent slackage, they were never posted. This is the first of several. At this time, we are no longer accepting new books for review.
Review by Jenny Ellis
Short story collections such as Jane Austen Made Me Do It are great to have on hand when it’s been a stressful week at work and you can’t concentrate for long periods of time. It’s nice to read a couple stories put the book down, cook dinner and pick the book back up. I think there’s a story for everyone in this collection. It’s nice to see that so many authors were inspired by Jane Austen. Three stories really stand out to me. In Syrie James’s story “Jane Austen’s Nightmare,” Jane encounters all of her characters while out on the town. Marianne rips into Jane for having her end up with Colonel Brandon instead of Willoughby. If Marianne doesn’t want Colonel Brandon I’d be glad to take him off her hands. (Same here. –Ed.) I laughed out loud multiple times during this story because I think it’s every author’s nightmare to have their characters come to life and tell them how they really feel. Most of Jane’s characters’ responses made me laugh out loud. Author Beth Pattillo states “If only real life could be like one of Jane Austen’s novels”. Her story was short but sweet. It makes me wonder which novels I’d want my life to be like. I think I’d have to go with my favorite of hers, Persuasion. I like how Beth’s story shows you never know where you’ll find love. When I started to read Alexandra Potter’s “Me and Mr. Darcy Again” I thought the characters seemed familiar. It’s a sequel to her novel Me and Mr. Darcy from 2007. It made me want to re-read the novel. It was just enough of a continuation to make me happy. This book is a good mix of modern day settings and historic settings. My tastes lean towards the modern ones because I like how it shows how much Jane Austen and her novels are still relevant today.
AustenBlog is delighted to host Laurel Ann Nattress, proprietor of the fabulous Austenprose and editor of the anthology Jane Austen Made Me Do It, for a little tidbit about the anthology. The Editrix had her share in the conversation, er, anthology, as you will read below. LA and I have known each other for a really long time–we were reminiscing how long at the JASNA AGM last week!
Hi Mags, thanks for graciously inviting me here today on AustenBlog during my Grand Tour of the blogosphere in celebration of the release of my new Austen-inspired anthology, Jane Austen Made Me Do It. It is particularly gratifying to me since you were one of the first authors I reached out to contribute a short story and have been with me through the entire publication process. You have always been so incredibly supportive of me and my blog Austenprose, advising me on the technical geeky stuff, SEO, social media and all-around advice guru. I sincerely thank you. [Aww. –Ed.]
I was really intrigued when you told me that your inspiration for your story would be from two sources: Captain Frederick Marryat’s novel Peter Simple and Jane Austen’s Persuasion. Honestly I was expecting the further exploits from The Very Secret Diary of Henry Tilney, so this was a jolting surprise! After you explained that Peter Simple was an Age of Sail novel written by an English Royal Navy officer, it all started to make sense. I knew that in addition to our shared passion for our “dear Jane” that you were a huge Captain Horatio Hornblower fan who had studied naval history and lore from the era. I was astonished that you were able to pull a plot element out of Peter Simple about sailors receiving family letters and selling them to their shipmates for entertainment and then make the leap to creating your story, “Heard of You,” about the early career of Austen’s Captain Wentworth and Admiral Croft. I remember reading the first draft and shaking my head in amazement at how you pulled it all together. I was truly touched by the story and I hope that readers will be too. Continue reading